Structural heart program in Gainesville
HCA Florida North Florida Hospital is known for its structural heart services, having been the first facility in Florida and the seventh in the nation to be certified by the American College of Cardiology for transcatheter aortic valve replacement.
The heart's function depends on its four valves: the mitral, aortic, tricuspid and pulmonary valves. When functioning properly, the heart's valves are responsible for helping blood flow and delivering oxygen throughout the body. Our program brings together healthcare professionals such as cardiologists, cardiac surgeons and diagnostic technicians to treat diseases of the heart valves.
Our structural heart disease program
Treatment for structural heart disease differs from patient to patient and depends on the severity of a patient's symptoms and how well their heart functions.
Structural heart conditions we treat
Our structural heart procedures focus on treating conditions of the aortic and mitral valves, where valve disease is most common.
Aortic and mitral valve regurgitation
Regurgitation occurs when either the aortic or mitral valve does not close properly, allowing blood to leak through the valve when it should not. For example, picture a door frame. If the door frame becomes stretched, the door is unable to close and will swing through the frame.
If the aortic or mitral valve becomes stretched or misshapen, it is unable to close correctly.
Aortic valve regurgitation may be caused by a congenital abnormality of the valve, an aortic aneurysm, degeneration of the valve or an infection.
Mitral valve regurgitation may be caused by an enlarged heart, mitral valve prolapse or a rupture of the tendons or papillary muscles that facilitate valve movement.
Aortic and mitral valve stenosis
Valve stenosis occurs when there is an abnormal narrowing of the valve that does not allow enough blood to flow through the valve. This subsequently means that there is not enough blood supply to go to the lungs and rest of the body.
Aortic stenosis causes may include progressive wear and tear of a bicuspid valve, wear and tear of the aortic valve in older patients and scarring of the aortic valve due to rheumatic fever as a child or young adult.
The most common cause of mitral valve stenosis is rheumatic fever. Other causes include wear and tear of the mitral valve in older patients, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
For some patients, treatment of structural heart conditions may mean medication management and close observation by a physician. However, sometimes heart surgery is needed to repair or replace a valve.
Valve repair may be an option for some patients experiencing mitral regurgitation. For patients with aortic regurgitation, aortic stenosis and mitral stenosis, heart valve replacement may be needed. Mechanical and tissue valves are available for patients undergoing a valve replacement. Our structural heart specialists discuss what options are available with each patient.
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)
Not all patients with aortic stenosis are candidates for open-heart surgery to replace a damaged aortic valve.
During the TAVR procedure, the new valve is attached to a catheter and inserted into the femoral artery or into a small incision in the chest, then guided to the heart. The balloon is inflated to secure the new valve in place, directly over the old valve. Recovery is similar to a heart catheterization and the patient usually goes home the next day.
When to see a doctor
If you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, you should be evaluated for heart valve disease.
Symptoms of heart valve disease
Heart valve disease symptoms may include:
- Chest pain and pressure, often described as a feeling of squeezing or heaviness
- Fainting, dizziness and lightheadedness
- Heart murmur heard by a physician
- Shortness of breath or breathing too hard
- Swelling of the legs
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